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At best work in progress. England could easily have lost more games than they won, but deserve credit for playing well against Wales. They still look clueless for most of the time though.
You have to wonder why a captain's been picked who shouldn't be in the squad. I still remain far from convinced about Foden too.
Certainly not the most exciting team in the championship. Potential to move away from that image though.
Over to England to play an expansive game (the only way forward), and to see how they do against the southern hemisphere teams.
Posted 13:27 23rd March 2012
My young lady is Austria and loves rugby,... in fact it's the only time I ever hear her swear correctly in English,.. now if only she'd lose this Ospreys obsession and come to the Dragons..
Posted 10:49 23rd March 2012
@ lawynd - we used to live in Rutland, so they were the "local" team. I'm fairly sure she supports them only to upset me!!
@ rugbydinosaur - I do appreciate your point. I have a friend who's a professional footballist and we often argue the merits of our beloved sports. I watch him play and enjoy that, but I have to say, soccer just leaves me cold. But I also think that rugby has more going on, throughout the match, than soccer. I suppose if I wanted to intorduce an alien to the game, for flair and excitement, it'd have to be a 7s tournament. And then ease them into the 15-man game once they've got the rugby bug.
Posted 09:53 23rd March 2012
Tried to introduce my wife to the game - when she comes into the tv room she shouts 'rubbish' and covers her eyes! Nobody told me not to ttry this at home.
Posted 21:54 22nd March 2012
@APV1 - sounds like your wife has more sense than you, and/or is less of a glutton for punishment. Or does she, like my girlfriend, have the hots for Castro!?
Posted 19:26 22nd March 2012
England went well in the SN tourney considering a reasonably inexperienced team. They seemed to play a patterned game that suits their abilities, comfort levels and didnt try and play a game suited to other teams south of the Equator, so that alone shows a common sense approach and good coaching.
Their 3 tests against the Boks will be interesting. They may do better against Boks than a lot of SH rugby people think.
Keep Lancaster as the Coach I say.He has done better than a lot of people gave him credit for, before the SN.
Posted 19:08 22nd March 2012
@ lawynd - Hear! Hear!
@ rugbydinosaur - I have introduced friends to rugby and, more importantly, my wife (although she has chosen to support the Tigers - damn her!). Watching any sport with a true fan opens up the eyes of the spectator to the excitement, nuances and brilliance of the game. As an example, I never really enjoyed American Football / Gridiron, except as a specacle. Until I went to see a match with a player who could explain to me what the bloomin' heck was going on. I'm no convert, but I certainly enjoy it more now that I understand it (although having more than one team playing for the same side still seems daft to me - offence; defence; kicking; etc!).
I've said it before and I'll say it again:
Vive la difference!
Posted 17:47 22nd March 2012
@rugbydinosaur - you can't crow about England being rubbish at the moment, so resort to the tired old 'dull to watch'. You and others like you still wouldn't have a good word to say about English rugby if they played like the All Blacks and beat all comers convincingly. Or perhaps you're one of these 'fans' that actually wants to see union turned into rugby league but with two more players on the pitch? If you can't appreciate the tough and tight stuff alongside the scintillating and fast, then you're watching the wrong sport. And you also clearly didn't see any of the three tries scored against France, which were as off-the-cuff and free-flowing as most of the other 'good' tries scored in this tournament.
Posted 16:19 22nd March 2012
J_Hdk What you forget is that the Scotland and Italy games were the first two games for a coach brand new to the team and brand new to rugby at this level. It was also the first 2 caps for about 8 players. In fact i don't think there was anyone with more than about 25 caps in the side. Im not naive enough to think that England are one of the best sides in the world again, but we're certainly heading the right way and the things about our game which weren't quite there during the 6N will come in time. Im looking forward to the likes of Lawes, Wood, Haskell, and maybe even Cipriani coming back into this squad. Im also looking forward to plenty of new players getting a chance between now and this time next year. The skies the limit in my opinion.
Posted 15:36 22nd March 2012
With all the turmoil at HQ and so much youth brought into the team I went into this 6 nations campaign prepared to accept two heavy defeats (France and Wales), one close defeat (Ireland) and two close victories (Scotland and Italy).
Instead we got one close defeat (Wales), three close victories (Scotland, Italy and France) and one emphatic victory (Ireland).
So in my eyes this 6 nations was a total success!
I haven't seen an England team that looked so dogged and resilient for a while. They seem to play with belief and total commitment, which is lovely to watch.
Posted 15:13 22nd March 2012
You have to admit,.. this team got better and better as the 6N wore on and as different combinations were tried out,... no they were not awsome in every match,.. but you can't say they were the same team against Ireland as they were against Scotland,.. I'm not even English,.. and I can see that somethng almost miraculous went on between game 1 and game 5,... Stuart Lancaster is a witch...!!!!
Posted 14:20 22nd March 2012
Omigosh PR - is this what they call hubris? Just as an example, the Ireland match demonstrated how little depth Ireland have, when the loss of two forwards turned their scrum into a travesty. England are vastly better than they were but there's still a long way to go. Of course if they win the series against SA there will be something to crow about - anybody taking bets?
Posted 13:53 22nd March 2012
I believe you make your own luck charging down is a skill, and Hodgson said that Saracens practice them regularly (Botha would have scored one against Wales but for a bounce) the intention is not necessarily to score a try but to force the kicker into an error.
Interceptions too are a skill and I perhaps should not have referred to both Italian trys as spawned BUT, England returned to the field with a level of control that they had not shown in the first half and I genuinely believe that the result was not in doubt once the Italian lead had been overhauled.
@APV1 I agree about the shoulda, woulda, coulda observation in a results oriented sport but I think England's management would be kidding themselves if they allowed the Scotland result to convince them that the performance would be good enough for other fixtures.
What is also encouraging is that three results were gained on the road and three in trashy conditions.
Posted 13:35 22nd March 2012
Barely scraped through against terrible Scotland and Italy. Lost at home tio Wales. Beat Exhausted french and irish sides.
I don't think this should mean automatic selection for SL.
Posted 12:48 22nd March 2012
as a welshman, it would be easy to hope England dont stick with Lancaster, employ some overpaid numpty and sink back into the quagmire. But they wont and will be all the better for it. Lancaster has overachieved on just about every level and deserves every plaudit for this emerging English side. They could be finally on to something special here and that bodes for some truly outstanding and competitive 6N to come. Well done England, look forward to an epic in Cardiff next year. The beer is waiting :)
Posted 12:38 22nd March 2012
Italy scrum gave England a lesson or two that day. With a couple of well deserved earlier penalties (should that French ref have adopted the same standard as Owens in ENG-IRE) that game was for Italy to lost.
Overall, England had an excellent tournament, well beyond expectations, but they were quite lucky on the first two games.
Unless, you want us to believe that Hodgson's intercept tries were planned.....
Posted 12:34 22nd March 2012
England have made a good start and have laid some pretty solid foundations to build on imo.As ive posted elsewhere the forthcomming tour of SA will be no pushover and id be very surprised if England get a series win (though i live in hope ).What im looking for is hopfully more improvment from the side and to push the bokkes like the welsh to their limits and maybe a test win .England will be a work in progress for at least 18 months imo so we shouldnt get carried away to much at victories or to despondent at defeats,and there will be defeats .We have alot of good young talant bursting on the scene and its going to take time to find a world beating combination for 2015 ..SL and GR will hofeully be allowed to continue moulding that world beating (hopefully) squad .This international experiance thing imo is hookum a rugby brain for tatics and being able to motavate players is what makes a team the rest follows naturally
Posted 12:34 22nd March 2012
Think what u like England fans. Dreams are after all free
Posted 12:14 22nd March 2012
Not a lot to add to that - a pretty balanced piece. Thank you.
I will, as suspected, pick up on the "should 'a, would 'a, could 'a", however. Any team or player in any sport, in any match could use that. But we don't accept it, as it's nonsense. It's the numbers on the score board at the final whistle that go down in the history books, not the "should 'a, would 'a, could 'a". Although there are fellow-posters with very (too!) long memories, who love to drag up ancient history, it's rarely useful. Sometimes it is, to illustrate a point, but often it's just a poor loser spouting, rather than helpful information in a debate.
I agree that SL should be given the job. He's taken the EPS by the scruff of the neck and given it a shake. No nonsense, back-to-basics attitude.
RFU Core Values:
Teamwork. Respect. Enjoyment. Discipline. Sportsmanship.
SL has instilled all of these and backed up words with actions (Danny Care, as a case in point).
And, on a similar note, was this a pretty "clean" 6N championship? There were plenty of penalties, I appreciate, but they were, it seemed to me, more for technical infringements than foul play.
Editor - will you be doing the stats? If so, could you compare the Red and Yellow cards from this 6N to the last couple? Perhaps it's just my perception, but it seemed mostly good natured and sporting.
Bring on SA!
Posted 11:10 22nd March 2012
I feel very positive about what this team has achieved, and where it's going. I just hope that the team continues to gel and improve. It's crucial they build on these strong foundations.
I also hope that the RFU do the right thing and give SL the job full time, alongside GR and maybe even AF.
The future, I believe, is bright
Posted 10:51 22nd March 2012